Re: One question I have always asked myself
"You make me laugh. Stop thinking that these people have anyone but their own best interests at heart. They are just normal people with all the failings of normal people. With shareholders that ensure that their primary concerns (and legally constrained concerns I might add) are the short and not the long term."
Having shareholders means some short term outlook and some long term. You get both kinds of investors. However, having shareholders mean that they are responsible to grow those investments, which means they wont invest in technology or projects that are unprofitable. Wind would be profitable if we didn't have lots of other technologies which are far superior in terms of CO2 emissions, cost and reliability... once oil is gone, if biodiesel (either algae or bio-ethanol from sugar-cane leftovers) doesn't come through, or photo voltaics don't go anywhere.. and we find that nuclear with its somewhat complicated economy (mining ore/reactor tech etc) actually turns out more expensive, then wind will be viable. it doesn't look like it will though, unless the various governments continue to subsidise the industry surrounding it (which isn't a problem in itself.. just means we aren't using the most economical/efficient way of producing power.. cheaper forms of energy like gas in effect subsidises the more expensive ones like wind)
"As for bio diesel made from Algae .... that's decades old tech and wasn't invented by big oil. So you've kind of stabbed yourself in the back by showing that big oil (or as you want to call them energy companies) have buried viable technology so they can continue making money from what they know and love best ... OIL."
Most of the renewable tech we have is decades old... photovoltaic, solarthermal, geothermal, hydroelectirc, biomass, wind/water/tidal generators... Energy Companies (Or big oil as you want to call them ;)) are very good at looking for new sources of energy.. it's what they do: find source of energy>find way to transport energy to market>profit. Which is why they are also the most likely organisations to be still delivering our energy once oil becomes too expensive to recover.
The reason why the worlds motor cars don't already run on renewable energy is because a) oil is still cheaper, and b) renewables are still more expensive. Sooner or later there will be a shift (actually later, as my original post mentioned.. now we have shale gas and oil.. postponing the enevitable move to renewables). Exxon is investing in algae based biodiesel. Shell is investing heavily in brazil, turning waste from sugar cane production into fuel (I don't remember if its biodiesel or needs blending. I am not sure what BP is doing but last I heard they were still into Wind energy but were getting out of Solar.
This doesn't make them loving caring charitable organisations that just what is best for the world.. and no, they didn't invent these technologies.. they are just the ones that are spending the most on research to improve them.. Which makes them the organisations most likely to provide the worlds energy mix also in the future.
Unless 'Clean Coal' finally comes through obviously (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130206093547.htm) and we end up with the coal companies becoming the de factor energy providers for the next 100 years.